As high school seniors enter the stressful college decision time, here is some advice. Relax.
Where you go to college matters a lot less than how you go to college. We have known this for years, but it is hard to accept. Surely being around future titans of industry at Harvard has some advantage. But much of that seems to be correlation not causal: people who exercise also tend to eat better.
What we do know is that college provides the most benefit when students are engaged in theirown learning. Find a mentor. Do research. Spend the time to meet new people. Finding a personwho believes in you and your potential matters far more than anything you will do in class.
If you find a place where you seem to fit in and it feels right—that is probably the right place foryou. Most students are pretty happy with where they have picked and any college feels waybetter than high school.
What you do while you are in college—any college—really matters. Take advantage of thediversity of new people. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Go to exhibitions and events you think you will hate. One of them could change your life.
So, pick a school and relax. Once you arrive, make new friends and, most importantly, go visitstaff and faculty.